October 13, 2010
ATLANTA -- The law does not often favor those with limited resources or a limited voice. This summer I was able to work in two varying capacities representing those that are often discounted by the law. I divided my summer between the Georgia State University Low Income Tax-Payer Clinic and interning with the Atlanta Volunteer Legal Foundation in their One Child One Lawyer Program.
The Tax Clinic provided me with an invaluable opportunity to work a demanding case load and to interface with the IRS. One of my 20 cases actually went to an appeals hearing in which I along with my supervising attorney represented the interests of the client and were able to have the tax liability against the client dismissed. Most days were spent on the phone talking with various IRS agents and sending confirmation letters about resolutions we had reached. The tax clinic is a great experience in tax law first and foremost, but it also teaches the students how to interact with clients and the IRS. Working in the clinic provides insight into how a law firm runs from the administrative duties to taking a case to trial.
In working as an intern for the AVLF, I spent the majority of my time in Fulton County Juvenile Court. My court room experience came from participation and observation of the Family Drug Court. My role was to prepare the supervising attorney for each and every case on the weekly drug court calendar where the attorney represented the interest of the children involved. Some days were spent researching case files in the clerk’s office, while others included client interviews and long days on a heard court bench. As a current 3L, I was also able to take on my own case under the third-year practice act and I am continuing to represent a child in the Juvenile Court.
By working in two non-profit offices this summer, I was able to see the great need for dedicated attorneys that work for those without a clear voice in the legal system. Those without the means to defend themselves and those without a voice find themselves in a distressed situation when a legal issue arises. Exploring the public interest sector of the legal profession this summer renewed my passion for the legal work that brought me to law school.
By Cindi Yarbrough